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The Resource Juba!, Walter Dean Myers

Juba!, Walter Dean Myers

Label
Juba!
Title
Juba!
Statement of responsibility
Walter Dean Myers
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
In Five Points, New York, in the 1840s, African American teenager William Henry "Juba" Lane works hard to achieve his dream of becoming a professional dancer but his real break comes when he is invited to perform in England. Based on the life of Master Juba; includes historical note
Storyline
Tone
Character
Review
  • Grades 6-9 Having plumbed the archives for information about the nineteenth-century dancing sensation known as Juba, Myers pieces together a fictionalized account of his extraordinary life in this posthumous novel. Set in the Five Points district of New York City, the story begins with teenager William Henry Lane’s dream of becoming a dancer. At a time when slavery is still practiced and black entertainers are expected to clown in minstrel shows, Juba, as he is called, wants to be known for his talent. Dancing with the speed and inventiveness of a young man possessed, he earns a reputation that eventually allows him the opportunity to tour Britain. Juba’s passion, determination, and optimism—and position as a free man—during a time rife with racial injustice make his story unique. (Note that period-appropriate use of the n-word may prompt classroom or dinner-table discussion.) Vintage illustrations and news clippings, and the incorporation of historic figures, further help to bring him to life. Though Juba meets a sad and premature end, his story offers an intriguing glimpse into America’s past. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Among the last books written by the award-winning Myers, who died in 2014, this will surely receive substantial attention and interest from his many fans. -- Smith, Julia (Reviewed 07-01-2015) (Booklist, vol 111, number 21, p56)
  • Gr 6 Up — William Henry Lane, also known as Master Juba, was a famous dancer in America and England in the 1840s. Myers's final novel uses historical sources to piece together a picture of what his life might have been like. Juba grew up a free black man in the Five Points neighborhood of New York City, and his dancing was influenced by the Irish style. He encountered Charles Dickens after an early performance, who subsequently reviewed the dance in his American Notes . Historical images are provided throughout. Unfortunately, the author's choice to make this a first-person narrative makes some aspects of the exposition problematic. Young readers may not understand what minstrel shows were, and the context of the narrative is inadequate to convey why Juba would have been adamant about staying away from this form but ultimately began to participate in it. Richer back matter would have enhanced the overall quality of the book. VERDICT This will have appeal to readers who are interested in the history of dance or the antebellum period of American history.—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH --Kristin Anderson (Reviewed August 1, 2015) (School Library Journal, vol 61, issue 8, p98)
  • Published posthumously, Myers’s final novel is based on the life of Master Juba, born William Henry Lane in Providence, R.I., around 1825, who became a highly successful performer. Peopled by both historical and fictional characters, the book tells the unusual story of a free black man in the 19th century with a gift and passion for dance. So noteworthy that Charles Dickens interviewed and wrote about him, Juba is presented as a thoughtful, proud young man who means well and works hard; Myers gives him a direct and sympathetic voice, depicting the struggles and successes of his short life in the Five Points neighborhood of New York City, and later in London, with warmth and convincing detail. Relationships between blacks and whites are sensitively portrayed, and issues of race are treated frankly, both in dialogue and in Juba’s reflections. Photographs, reproductions of advertisements and reviews of Juba’s performances, and documents such as Juba’s death certificate add atmosphere and authenticity to this rich story; a closing note by Myers’s wife provides background on the author’s research process and distinguishes the historical characters from the fictional. Ages 13–up. Agent: Miriam Altshuler, Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency. (Oct.) --Staff (Reviewed July 20, 2015) (Publishers Weekly, vol 262, issue 29, p)
  • Juba, a freeborn young black man, dreams of making it big as a dancer in antebellum New York City. The late, acclaimed Myers chose the real-life story of William Henry Lane, arguably the most celebrated black performer of the prewar era, as the basis for this historical exploration. Combining extensive research and deft storytelling, Myers chronicles Juba's struggle to perform with superb skill and dignity instead of the degrading "cooning" and blackface that minstrel shows demanded. When the novel opens in 1842, 17-year-old narrator Juba lives "more or less" on his own. Longing for a chance to make a living as a dancer on his own terms, he's adopted a stage name, Master Juba. In the meantime, he works as an assistant to a smoked seafood seller. Through the authentic voices of his characters, Myers re-creates the New York City of the era, where free blacks like Juba coexisted with their equally impoverished white immigrant neighbors, and they faced the ever present threat of being captured and sold into slavery down South. Readers may be impatient with the slow pace of the first half of the novel, but that will give way as Myers' moving prose captures the dizzying speed with which the immensely talented Juba's star eventually rises. Poignant, revealing period fiction about race and art in pre-Civil War America. (Historical fiction. 14 & up) (Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2015)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10449728
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1937-2014
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Myers, Walter Dean
Dewey number
[Fic]
Illustrations
illustrations
Index
no index present
Intended audience
850
Intended audience source
Lexile
LC call number
PZ7.M992
LC item number
Jub 2015
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 6
  • 12
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Lane, William Henry
  • Lane, William Henry
  • Dancers
  • African Americans
  • Prejudices
  • Five Points (New York, N.Y.)
  • New York (N.Y.)
  • London (England)
  • Great Britain
  • JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / United States / African American
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Historical / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Biographical / United States
Target audience
adolescent
Label
Juba!, Walter Dean Myers
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
201 pages
Isbn
9780062112712
Isbn Type
(hardback)
Lccn
2014042527
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
(OCoLC)885229984
Label
Juba!, Walter Dean Myers
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
201 pages
Isbn
9780062112712
Isbn Type
(hardback)
Lccn
2014042527
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
(OCoLC)885229984

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      85 Literary Lane, Newnan, GA, 30265, US
      33.38561 -84.669793
    • A. Mitchell Powell Jr. BranchBorrow it
      25 Hospital Road, Newnan, GA, 30263, US
      33.387732 -84.816797
    • Senoia BranchBorrow it
      148 Pylant Street, Senoia, GA, 30276, US
      33.297709 -84.561283

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